Society / Environment
Monday, 03 Oct 2016 14:40 EAT
The cabinet secretary for Water and Irrigation, Eugene Wamalwa, has promised that 40 irrigation dams will be constructed in the next one year. The minister, speaking at a private sector meeting on Thursday night, said the ministry had advertised tenders for the construction of the 40 dams.
"When we came in, there were only five dams of which only three had been commissioned. Two others had legal disputes hanging over them," said the minister at the launch of the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance (KIWA). The disputes over the two dams had been resolved, he said.
The five dams that had been built over the last seven years are Maruba, Chemusus, Umma, Kiserian and the Badasa dam. The minister promised that the recent enactment of the Water Act 2016 would usher in a new era of water resource management in Kenya.
Mr Wamalwa said the ministry was in the process of developing a national policy for water resource management that would be out in two months. Under the Act, which revised the Water Act 2002, a new agency for public water works will be established that will have more power and resources to build public water works.
The Water Harvesting and Storage Authority (WHSA) will take over the assets of the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation, which for decades was the lead agency for water pipeline and projects development.
Speaking at the event, Eng. Boniface Mwaniki, who is the technical manager at the regulatory Water Resource Management Authority, said the agency was developing regulations that would increase the charge on raw water from price from 50 cents to Sh2 per cubic metre.
Under the new Act, property developers will be required to have a design for water harvesting as part of the building plans. The WRMA will also enforce standards for water sector development including the construction of private boreholes.
Mr Wamalwa told the audience that his ministry had mandated experts to mediate between counties that have had disputes over resource management. These counties are: Nairobi/Murang’a, which are vying for control of the Ndakaini Dam; Kericho/Nakuru and Kericho/Bomet which have overlapping claims on main water reserviours in the region.
The principal secretary in the ministry, Fred Sigor, was also present, as were representatives of the major companies and organisations behind the KIWA including the Nairobi county government, Coca Cola, Brookside, Nairobi Water, Bidco and Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)
Information provided to journalists at the launch of KIWA described the alliance as a partnership of public, private and civil society organizations committed to socially acceptable, economically favourable and environmentally sustainable management of water resources in Kenya.
It is spearheaded by KAM and WRMA and supported by the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWSP) and the 2030 Water Resources Group in which the partnership is collectively addressing major water-related risks to industrial growth.
The brochure also said KIWA will provide an action-oriented platform for stakeholders to discuss, plan, design and implement activities to increase water security, initially in the Nairobi sub- catchment. The partnership focuses now on sustainable ground water management; industrial water use efficiency; and improved surface water quality management.
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press